Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Huzza! It seems the term Maximalism in poetry has caught on. What a strangely awesome thing.

In the winter of 2011, Fern Thompsett and myself, were joking about how self-indulgent poetry can be. Like "did you get my profound metaphor?" "I can use words with LOTS OF SYLLABLES!" and basically taking the piss.
From that we thought how funny it would be if we wrote some poems, MAXIMALIST POEMS, that were basically us standing there going "hey I'm a very intelligent person please validate me for being so intelligent! Yeee!"

I performed my first "Maximalist" poem at the 2011 QLD State Poetry Slam..

From there it really got some weight behind it.
Cameron Logan jumped on board and has written a number of Maximalist poems, the most famous being his "Ipswich!" piece. Stef Petrik accused all the men in the room of being murderers. K-Dawg down in Melbourne wrote about being a maximalist coz she lives life to the max. Archie has written a carnivorous feast upon the literary elite. Michael Cohen did one at the Brisbane Slam heats this year and it was a highlight of the night: "This is my sad poem, I am sad, this is my happy poem, I am happy..."

Fern wrote me one for my birthday, it had ninjas in it and is therefore the best poem ever.

The wikipedia explanation of maximalist art is a wank. sooooo wanky.

Maximalist Poetry is the most direct path to your point. It doesn't cover it with anything other than an explanation... or something... It takes the piss out of anything that could be intelligent.
And while I have struggled to keep from "owning" the term or the art form at all (it is something anyone can and should do), I'd like to let you know what I think a maximalist poem is:

1- It is usually read. Mess it up, make mistakes, read it. It's not a polished performance.
2- It is usually done in a monotone voice. Very little inflection or pausing. You're not reading a 'poem'. You're being a maximalist. What the hell is a comma?
3- It is usually done with a shouty-ish volume. You are a maximalist, not a haiku poet or a rising slam star. Just be loud all the time so it annoys soft-voiced poets and thumbs its nose at the poetry slam "mountain" (the rise and rise and rise and then sharp fall in volume of every slam poem ever).
4- be unafraid and unapologetic in your writing. Self-involved, politically motivated and "important" poets, whether performance based, blog based, page based, avant-garde based blah blah are there to be ridiculed. But most of all, ridicule yourself. Don't be prejudiced you arse, but don't be soft and PC like everyone else. Fuck with em.
5- have fun. It's meant to be fun. And a good maximalist poem is really really fun. Funny. Funnimungus.

That's my first one ever. I like it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Ish


I've been thinking about the way we write and what we write and how we challenge ourselves recently. After a conversation this morning, I realised there's been this unwritten rule at Jam Jar Poetry Slam (this Sunday 11th Nov 3pm y'all!), where you bring new shit.

Of course, no-one's gonna string you up if you perform or read the same piece from a previous month, but at the last slam in October, there were a few folks who did the same piece again.

I'd rather you got up and performed than didn't at all, however when it's a monthly event, and a regular crowd forms, is it artistically okay to perform the same 2 minute poem as last time? I don't know, and I'm only riffing here, so please don't take my word as bond...

Personally as host, I'll always try to bring something the crowd hasn't seen before. On occasion I've done the same piece from a few months back at the Jam Jar slams, but as a general rule, I'll usually have new material. Sometimes it's great and goes down a treat, it ALWAYS shows me if a certain piece needs a bit more tinkering. Thanks to following that ethos, over the past 12 months or so I have over 20 different performance poems up my sleeve. Some suit certain audiences better, of course, but overall I've built up a pretty strong repertoire of pieces which I can pull out almost any time.

In this context I think of performance poetry as something in between stand up comedy and a band. I'd be pissed if I went to see Billy Connelly and he gave me the same jokes and stories as on his dvd's. However it would piss me off as much if I saw Radiohead and they didn't play something from OK Computer or Kid A.

So there's an element of "play it again Sam" because you enjoy the delivery and the art of the piece, like a song, yet in the up-close-and-personal world of performance poetry, there is a need for the conversation between audience and poet to be fresh and new like a stand-up's jokes.

But I'd hate it if performers, especially those who are only just getting their feet wet, felt some sort of pressure to give new material all the time. I work on my art constantly. I have both the time and the energy to commit to writing new material. A lot of other people don't. The slam at Jam Jar can be a confronting enough space as it is - no mic, a round space, very close vocal crowd - without having to always write new material.

But remember that it's a small community, this poetry thing. The same folks come to most of these events.

Eleanor Jackson and Betsy Turcot are endlessly inspiring because they not only work full time, but also write whole new sets of poetry for specific gigs. When Betsy came to Jam Jar in October, she had a fresh 12 minute set prepared. I've barely seen Eleanor Jackson repeat a thing.

I'm not saying be prolific every single month. And your challenges may be different: this month you might read your piece, next month you might have it memorised. You might skip a month, so you can get a new piece ready for the next one. There's a lot of valid choices to make. But playing it safe may just be the easiest way to distance yourself from your audience.

I was incredibly impressed that Martin Ingle, who has begun to acquire a nice little collection of poems, read something new at the recent QLD Poetry Slam heats. He could have pulled anything from this year's Jam Jar performances out, yet he didn't. And he didn't make it through to the finals either.
Yet through the poetry community there were whispers of pride and encouragement for a guy pushing himself constantly. Which is why I recommended him to the State Library to be sacrificial poet at the state final, he did a great job, got paid too, and it could almost be argued that - more so than the runner-up or the winner - Martin is the go-to guy for a fresh new voice in poetry.
Because he's starting to push himself in new directions with his art. Therefore making an exciting experience to watch.

Try to enter the challenge of constantly writing.
Create feasible, realistic goals and go for them.
Try something new.
Make your art on the knife's edge.

At Graham Nunn's recent workshop he commented that, if you are a writer, you write.

So write.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


It’s the end of the year (derrr), Speedpoets has finished up, we are coming up to our last Jam Jar Poetry Slam of the year too, Words or Whatever is having a November sign-off on the 16th and basically we say bye for another poetry year and let the words sift through till January…Not that it’s all over, of course, Woodford’s WordFood is going to be a hell of a new year’s event and there’s a few nice little open mics still kickin around. 
But sometimes it’s nice to honour the year and go out with a bang. 
So please come, if you’re in Brisbane, to

Raw Poet Roar! 

Dec 1st, 6:30-10pm. $15 entry. The Box. West End. 
It’s gonna be huge.

And it’s been a huge year for me, my first year doing art as my actual career (eek!), the 1st anniversary of Jam Jar Poetry Slam, my first year touring Melbourne, Sydney, Lismore, Byron etc etc… So I want to celebrate and honour that, if nothing else…And really, I’ve NEVER done a big set in front of my home audience before. It’s been my personal challenge to hold the space for a big, big feature. Not like poetry “big feature” of 15minutes. 
I mean like... double that, if not more.
It brings into play my role as not only poet, but entertainer as well. Someone who can hold a crowd. Can I do it? I don’t really know. But you can come and see that’s for sure. And if I fail, then there’s entertainment in the cringe worthiness of it all…

The other thing about this event is, well, I thought about who else to get to feature. I thought of some of the big names and my friends in Brisbane spoken word at the moment… Doubting Thomas, Eleanor Jackson, Betsy Turcot, Ghostboy, Graham Nunn, Adam Hadley… the list goes on…
But then I thought, there are a fair few poets whose work I really like, whose ethos and attitude I really like, and who seem to come to almost everything, read a poem or two, basically making the Brisbane Poetry community the warm and diverse place it is.

So fuck it, let’s make a place for the raw talent to shine. An event featuring sets by some of Brisbane’s hidden (and not-so-hidden) poetry talent. From beautifully realised car rides with Trudie Murrel through to haiku heavyweight Vuong Pham, faerie love poet Rachael Dean and slam maker of lurrvve to words Martin Ingle, this is going to be raw, different, crazy, real...

So let’s roar together eh? With host Fern Thompsett at the helm, we are guaranteed a night of bad puns, fun smiles, and a down-to-earth way to celebrate success in all its forms AND future success in all its hope and glory.
Raw Poet Roar has come together beautifully.
I can’t wait to see what this crew of 10 poets has to offer.
And what the hell am I gonna do?
Blow the roof off the mother.
The official line-up for Raw Poet Roar is as follows:

  • JD
  • Rachael Dean
  • Vuong Pham
  • Ahliya Kite
  • Michael Cohen 
  • Zenobia Frost
  • Trudie Murrel
  • JK
  • Angela Willock
  • Martin Ingle
Special guests include 18 year old stand-up comedian Calum Johnston 
and kooky songstress Lucy Fox!
6:30pm, Saturday 1st December, The Box, 29 Vulture St, West End. $15 entry.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

$$$$ MAKE MONEY MONEY!!!! $$$$

Well you may know, or well you may not, about Jam Jar Poetry Slam and it's place as a place to place your words/stories/monologues/raps etc...

It's been running for over a year and in that time we've seen seen some pretty interesting changes and growth.

It costs money to enter now. A whole $5.
And while I haven't had much of a backlash about it, there is a small amount of discontent. A really minimal amount, but I thought it was worth discussing.
Because, apparently, paying for poetry is just not done.
It's a foreign concept.

Movies, ok. Books, ok. Music, ok. Plays, ok. Art galleries, ok...
But spoken word?
You fucking sellout moneymaking scumbag.
See we value our art, enough to attend, enough to want to join a community of artists, enough to write, but not enough to pay.

And there is definitely a broken culture of how we value our spoken word in Brisbane.

I was performing at a gig in Sydney called Outspoken, and a friend from Canberra came up to hang out while I was close(ish).
It was $10 to enter.
She was told she could get in for free because she was with me.
You know what she said?
"Ten dollars...? Maaaaan, I'll pay ten dollars to see poetry! Here".
And she gave them a ten dollar note and walked on in without blinking an eye.

Now I'm wondering if there are people in Brisbane who would do the same thing?
And don't get me wrong, I don't think it's out of spite or nastiness.
I just wonder if we've become so accustomed to free spoken word events that the concept of paying, of someone making a living off their spoken word art, is... weird.

You know why the events were free?
Because no-one would come.

But now there's a bubbling community of die-hard poetic lovers.
Why not say: If I put on a good show, you pay me - so I can eat, or drink, or get a tattoo, or smoke crack, or... gosh... maybe buy a new writing book? a pen? or pay for flights so I can bring Brisbane spoken word to other cities? Or just exist as an artist?

When I was starting out doing spoken word, I was paid according to my skill level. Or the funding for the venue. I now charge more. I charge more for workshops and more for a set. Because my skill set has been shaped and challenged and rewarded and learnt over nearly 7 years of spoken word. Add another 4/5 onto that  for writing rhymes, hip-hop, beat making and DJing and there's a shit load of experience there. And I'm not trying to blow my on horn, I've just come to a point where I know what I can do.
Yet I do a fuck load of free events for community-run organisations, festivals and arts groups.
And every payment sits within the standard awards for artists.

I value what I do.
And I have the right to make money off what I do.

Of course, the people who don't like it are in a teeny tiny minority.

Thanks to the majority of people who pay without fuss. And would probably pay more.

I can pay my rent now.

I can give the features some good cash for their work, their risk taking, their writing and their performance.

Poets are getting paid!!! Thanks to you!!!

And when it comes to funding, grant writing, and all that bureaucratic stuff, the government and funding bodies can see an economy based around this arts community and tick their boxes accordingly.
So we can build and create something to be proud of.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mad Scientists in the Universe of Spoken Wired

Pic from:

Over this past year I've had the delightful opportunity to host a series of workshops for scientists, yes REAL scientists, surrounding spoken word.


A spoken word artist facilitating scientists???
But they're like... doctors and stuff?!
They could save my life!
I can't operate on a person with a poem!
I can't discover a new planet through rhyme!"

Yep, that's what I thought when the lovely crew at The Edge brought this concept together.

You see, poetry was pretty boring to "general audiences" before poetry slam right? (Just run with me here, it's a black or white statement, and I can hear your argument against it already, but let's just leave the shades of grey for now...)
So the basic concept was to have a platform for science to be as exciting for an everyday audience as poetry slam is for an everyday audience.

You with me?

The workshops feed into an event called The Mad Scientists Tea Party, and over the past year I've seen scientists take audiences step by step through wrestling dugongs, talking to computers, using your own skin as art, naming new discoveries, black holes and transparent buildings (that don't need lighting other than the sun) PLUS what the universe is made of and how we're made of the same stuff.

It's been freakishly amazing, splendidly inspiring and one of the most fascinating events in Brisbane.

Each scientist, doctor, student, science based artist or general lover of sciency stuff has had 5 minutes - no powerpoint - to tell us what they do OR what they know OR just why they love science.
The event culminates in an industry pro sharing their passion for a 1/2 hour presentation - which has taken us to the world of flying foxes, science as art, the galaxy, new planets... To name a few.

Saturday the 20th of October is the final Mad Scientist Tea Party at The Edge, 5:30pm. It's $10 entry and you get some blooming tea with entry. It's really cool. Like science.

Come along and check out why this event has been selling out pretty much all year.
And I promise you, you'll learn something you never knew you never knew.
The Edge Facebook
Mad Scientist Tea Party Event Brite

Rumour has it that, seeing as we've been discussing galaxies and worlds within, there might be a bit of a tangent into sci-fi, gaming, general geekdom and how worlds are created within our imaginations from a few speakers too...)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I'm in Going Down Swinging!!!!!

What a trip.
As a Performance Poet it's a weird feeling having work published or used in a way that has nothing to do with a stage.

So issue #33 of GDS is amazing for me not only because it features an audio recording of my piece If Jesus Was Born Again He Would Convert To Buddhism, but because there's something about GDS that just smells, looks, tastes (the pages are very crunchy) of quality. It's a big moment, and a nice milestone of 2012.

It's also been the first year I've been published, with my poem Thorn sitting in amongst the literary masterpieces from the QPF 2012 Anthology. Humbling indeed.

I have recently finished my self published chapbook too - Sinking/Floating. It's $7 if you want a copy! It has some old performance favourites as well as some pieces that seemed to find their way onto the pages without me ever performing them... very cool.

If you're a performer, and a bit of a wordsmith, does it look odd when you see your work in print? I know a script always seems a bit strange to me until it's been thought through and acted out.
What about poetry that sits on the page? There's been many an occasion when I've been bored out of my mind by a poet reading their work and wishing, dying, hoping, that they would just let me read their work in silence before they ruin the whole thing.
If you're curious about this kind of conversation, head to FreeVerse!, next Wednesday the 17th at the State Library of QLD. It features word queen, prose wizard and villanelle temptress Zenobia Frost versus ritual-shirt-tearing-pants-dropping-hold-on-tight performance poet Robin Archbold. It's hosted by the dynamic David Stavanger and should keep you thinking: Is there a difference? And do we really care?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hip-hop Daddy

Has hip-hop grown up a bit?

From the angst ridden social conscience and party vibe of the early 80s through to the gangster wishes and decrepit stories of the 90s, the flash and bang and synth of the 00s to the hip-hop of today: considered, mature, political… boring?

Of course, these are all broad sweeping statements, there’s shades of grey everywhere and within everyone, but let me say why I’m wondering this.
It’s Nas.
And his new album “Life Is Good”.
The same rapper that declared Hip-hop is Dead, (and regardless of whether you believed it or not, if you’re a hip-hop head, you probably bought into the argument) has released an album exploring his role as father, husband, their eventual divorce and of course the obligatory street conscience that named him one of the greatest ever rappers since his debut with Illmatic.

So here we have a world where hip-hop means Odd Future, Nas, Plan B, Kanye West, Jay-Z… well to me anyway. If I’m missing heaps it’s because I’m leaving heaps out, derr.
But some of the cleverest music of recent has been at the hands of crazy kids (Odd Future), or old heads (Nas, Jay-Z).
And even Odd Future has some pretty interesting things to say about the state of the world. Whether you buy into the hype or not is up to you. But the music’s got some strength, lyrically and beat-wise. It’s framing the world of the future hip-hop heads just like Gravediggaz did for me when I was younger.
And I like to think that I make some pretty articulate and creative statements in my art even with that dark background of music. So don’t write off the youngies. Time is only relevant to your position in it.

If you’re listening to hip-hop, let me know. I’d be interested to hear if you think it’s grown up, or maybe you think it’s dumber? What position does Australian based hip-hop music have in it all? I haven’t discussed it because I don’t really listen to Australian grown hip-hop music. Not since I was at a gig that felt like a klan rally. Although with the likes of Mantra, Rainman, and Hermitude, my attitude has swung back into giving Oz Hiphop a bit more of a chance.
Just don’t talk to me about 360.

So Hip-hop, you old bastard.

Is it smart? Is it relevant? Or has it got boring since NWA split?
Does music even have to be “smart” or “mature”? How does it become reborn? Is Kanye even relevant as an example?
I dunno.
I just like Nas’ new album. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

A different brain space...

Photo credit:

Performing is integral to my art.
So I'm finding it really really realllllly hard to get it suitable for print.
I'm trying to put together a zine of some of my best work and some of the stuff that's never made it to the stage, and I gotta say, it's not easy.
Editing and fixing and fixing and editing and making sure the layout's good and running down to officeworks to print only to realise it's not right so editing and fixing and geez it'd look good in colour but i'm not rich so it's gonna have to be black and white oh mannnnnnnnn it looks terrible!!!.... blah blah blahhhh...

But it's rewarding to revisit some of my stuff from over the years that has sat there in hibernation, waiting for something other than a stage performance to let itself out of the shadows.

Pieces like The Seamstress, about a sinister old magic lady who weaves her spells throughout a small town.
Tales from Stradbroke Island last year when I met a beautiful lady who introduced herself as "Mars-like -the-planet-chocolate". 
She drove me to the ferry.

And other bits and bobs that have floated about in my subconscious.
Sometimes there is art that needs a different medium to spring forth. Whole and clear.

They certainly weren't coming out for the stage.

But now that I've thought about them with a different brain space...
who knows?

Let's play. In different ways.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

UNrequired Reading - Turnstyle

Image not mine, courtesy of

If you haven't heard, Turnstyle is a little pocket of community-run initiatives based in South Brisbane.

Tonight, as part of the Brisbane Fringe Festival, it's all about the words.

Oh God The Words!!!

Here I was hoping to have at least a week away from poetry and yet I am thrust back into it, unable to resist the lure of Eleanor Jackson, Doubting Thomas, Liv In(the)finite and Maia Sinclair-Ferguson.

Damn you!!!!

It's all for Unrequired Reading, a beautiful little bulb that will shed some more light on the lives of Ted Hughes and Silvia Plath that Thomas and Eleanor brought forth for QPF earlier in the month.

I missed it then.
I sure as hell ain't gonna miss it now.

Don't you either.
7pm - $10 on the door.
There's soup, drinks and more as well.

Thurs 13th & Fri 14th September
@ Turnstyle Commmunity Hub: 10-12 Laura St, Highgate Hill
Ticket Price: $10 on the door (soup included!)
BYO & Bar Available

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Sorry Tree

It's World Suicide Prevention Day, and after being introduced to the crew from Soften The Fuck Up, I thought I would write a piece concerning the taboo of suicide, especially in young men. However, I always felt it was rather forced for me to talk about something that wasn't directly related to me. Then I realised if I don't talk about it, and leave it only to those with first-hand experience, I just contribute to the very taboo I'm talking about.

I met a guy a year ago who talked about when I was in my rap crew M.A.S. and how, when I left, a few fellahs followed my art still.
Then he told me when they "fell off".
At first I didn't know what he meant.
Then it clicked, and I understood.

This piece is dedicated to those boys, whose names I don't know, whose faces I never saw, but knew me as someone, or something, that made their life a bit brighter.
And also to those boys who I never met and will never know and who never knew me at all.

Peace. Love to you.


I remember a few years back when I won the Qld Poetry Slam, and I thought I was awesome. It was something that I wanted. So. Bad.

And this year I got to host the QLD Poetry Slam heats and final with the lovely Tessa Leon and I gotta say it was a blast.

See there's this thing that happens in slam.

You want to win. Most of the time.

And as a host. You have to take the piss. Most of the time.

And somewhere in the middle you meet that careful see-saw of acknowledging the effort and the nerves of the poets involved, while also acknowledging that, realistically, this is the smallest stepping stone in a performance/poetry/artistic future.

And that it's just a frikkin slam.

So thanks to the following poets who just performed on Friday night. Just did their thing for the poetry, the stage, and not for the points.
Thank you Betsy Turcot for giving me a poem. And a beautiful one.
Thank you Eleanor Jackson for giving me a reason to enjoy slam.
Thank you Angela Willock for stepping up and just being you.

And thank you to all the young kids who were there from regional QLD areas and beyond. Sharing their stories for the sake of sharing their stories. You were all really great.

It was a blast. And there's always next year. And the year after. And the year after.


Once again the QLD Poetry Festival and the QLD State Poetry Slam are over for another year. Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup is done and dusted and all that is left is the party and the sunshine of B.F.F. and Brisbane Festival, West End Street Party (22nd September) etc etc... all in all though, the peak of the words are done for another year!

And at Jam Jar Poetry Slam on Sunday I was lucky enough to experience some of the spill-over from that. We had 12 poets sign up, most of whom I'd never seen before but had come to the slams and the poetry events throughout Brisbane.

Also, I got to witness one of my workshop participants win the slam on sunday, after having a huge growth in performance after entering Nimbin and the state slam. It's so great to see people go from strength to strength and realise there is no final product in poetry, or even art in general. You just keep going. Keep creating. Keep challenging yourself in new and exciting ways.

So good on you newbies, semi-newbies and not-so-newbies. Let's keep going.

I know this next year will be challenging for me in my pursuit of constant challenge and creation.

It might be time to write a show.

It might be time to tour overseas.

Either way the poetry community is in safe hands.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Home part 1

Home has always been a strange concept for me.
Relatively speaking, home is a place right? A house, a suburb, a street... whatever.
See I moved around a lot when I was a kid. I believe I never stayed in the same primary school for more than one year. In grade 2 I moved up to Tewantin on the Sunshine Coast because my mum had met a guy and we moved in with him. It was not good. It was not bad either. I remember a sense of anxiety and depression surrounding that place. And my mum became a vegetarian and by default so did I. I've harboured a hatred of squash ever since...
But every weekend I would hit the waves and be the best little surf grommet I could be. That was my home: the beach, the waves.
I was scared and awed by the huge goannas that would slip their way up trees with their giant claws and I even remember being swept up by a rip and my mum rescuing me.
Holy shit did she paddle her arse off!
When we moved back to Brisbane it was once again back to the flats, the apartment blocks, the little cheap areas where kids ruled the crevices and parents thought they new EXACTLY what we were up to. And they probably did. But I know we got away with more than we got in trouble for...
I was lucky enough to live next door to my cousins at one stage there. And to this day I have an excellent relationship with my cousin Josh. We grew up together, got in trouble together, fought, hated, raged, laughed, came home scratched up, fell over, fell up, threw up, and had to sit in opposite corners to cool off...
This was in the Capalaba and Cleveland area east of Brisbane.
And of all the 'spaces' in my life, I can still go back to Capalaba and know that this is where I'm from. While we moved around a lot, that area of Brisbane has remained the space that grew me up so to speak. To this day the scent, sight, and feeling of mangroves makes me feel okay about the world. Thanks to regular visits to Wellington Point, Cleveland and that whole Moreton bay area.
My grandparents always lived in a caravan for all of my young life, and even now they're off in Tasmania doing the whole grey nomad thing. But they were nomads and a little bit gypsy before they were grey. Always off, my Dar playing country music at RSL's and bowls clubs across the country. Always with a little bit of money in the pocket for the next adventure. Fishing rods, crab pots and a little dingy carefully arranged on their dust covered 4x4.
Nowadays I can step into a caravan and, thanks to numerous holidays with my grandparents, feel right at home.
And when my cousins moved out to Mundoolun in Jimboomba, I would spend days and weeks with them in my teenage years, exploring the scrub, chasing cows, riding bikes, swimming in waterholes, screaming SNAKE and trying to catch yabbies. I would eventually move out there for a few years in my late teens and love the sound of green tree frogs at night, of thick raindrops on tin roofs and motorbikes streaking across the dry countryside.
So between the moves throughout Capalaba, Wellington Point, Cleveland, Tewantin, Runcorn (where I spent my teenage years), Jimboomba, and wherever a certain caravan was parked, my concept of home has roughly been a roving venture.
In my adult life I've lived in Armidale NSW, Kangaroo Point, East Brisbane, Browns Plains, Heritage Park, Annerley and South Brisbane.
So what's home to me?
A safe space, a space where I can sleep comfortably, feel loved, listen to music, write my poems, cook a mean feed and know that I can come to at anytime, in any situation, without judgement or vilification.

So why all this talk of home?
Well I've recently lived in a house where hippies ruled and the garden was king. A beautiful house, full of love and laughter.
Then shit got weird. Well, it was always a bit weird. Flatmates that want constant attention and wanna be best friends can get tiring. But when flatmates like that will do anything for friendship, like inviting wandering junkies into the home, that's a bit strange. And when said junky takes a friends bike from the back yard, that's a bit shit. But when said junky 'loses' bike so brings back a $4g bike as replacement, that's just suspect. But hey! At least she bought a bike back yeah? (That bike was taken to the cops and had been reported stolen... so...)
Then when said junkie is snooping around the house a week later after just inviting herself in, that's a bit creepy.
Then when said junkie walks into my room while I'm sleeping, hungover and groggy and steals my wallet, you'd think something had to be done right?
You see I loved that house, wanted to live there for at least a year, but the concept of locks has boggled the mind of my weed smoking, "the universe has the answers" flatmate. And when the rest of the house broached this subject with him, he nearly threw the keys at us in a huff and puff and blow your home away.
So I'm leaving, shell on my back and antennae strapped tight to my head.
Home eh?
Tying this huge tirade together (thank you if you've made it this far) is the fact that I'm co-ordinating the Storytelling section of this year's Home Festival on July 21st at Raymond Park, Kangaroo Point. Poetry, storytelling, spoken word, theatre, jamming, roving performances etc. Yep we'll be living, loving and learning about home and what it means to all the various demographics of the local 4169, 4101 etc postcodes. It's Home Festival! So what does home mean to you? Got a story to tell? What's in your street? Any ghosts? Where's home to you and how do you define it? How is it destroyed? How is it upheld? Have you lived in the same house since like forever and what does that mean home is to you? Is home just a pillow? Is home a place in your heart? Is it a smell/touch/feel/sight?
I know if I've been travelling, there's nothing like the sight of that big brown dusty river to make me feel like I'm home.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

And then...

And then I hit Canberra... and thought about things....
Yeah nothing like a bit o poets interacting n talkin shiiiii...

Spending the day with amazingly super nice fellah Andrew Galan and humbling, peering-at-you-over-glasses-while-stroking-beard type guy Doubting Thomas has been a reflective thing.

Just the other day I posted about the elitist and pompous view of some poets. I rallied for success and achievement. I wanted to bring out the point that it's okay to search for meaning in your poetry, to see it reflected in an audience through their shared laughter, sadness, anger, pride etc etc

But I'm no good with blogs
and I got all second-guessiveness on it. (Shakespeare made up words too ma faaarkaaaa)

I really can't help but acknowledge that life's not all black n white.

Basically I'm trying to be as good a poet as I can be, while still having fun with it.

And that's the most important thing. You gotta have fun in your art, your life, your soul and mind.

I want to effectively bring things to a stage that I believe showcase me, my home, my heart, my friends and family, my world.
But please oh god please I don't want to be like THEM...
you know the ones?
The Lleyton Hewitts of Slam? The ones who pump the air when they get a 10 and pace the sides of the stage in an embarrassing display of... um... dick head.

But I'm really not up for the whole avant-garde, John Cage kinda I'm-gonna-stand-on-stage-and-be-really-artistic-dont-you-see-how-artistic-I-am thing.

So where does that leave me?

Wherever I am that makes me enjoy my time as an artist to be honest.
And if that means making crowds laugh and cry and cheer than so be it. I don't really enjoy confused stares and sneers. But I do enjoy challenging audiences. Poems that you can hear a pin drop. An uncomfortable silence. And then juxtaposing that with a piece that leaves you roaring.

If you've seen me perform I would hope you would say it's not all fluff and glitter.

Let's face it though:
It can, and has, already been done.
Slam's 30 years old... Poetry's OLDER. Spoken word is ANCIENT.

I'm not anything special. But I'm totally me and unique (he whispers to himself in his pillow at night... sob...)
I'm a broken record that's been playing since oral stories of Jagera elders. Since Greek theatre and colosseum's crumbled.
And I'm also some dude from Brisbane who wants to blow up stages.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Darkwing Dubs. Embrace it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Yearly breakdown, break it down!

Oh my my... so I told you I was no good at keeping up with this stuff eh? Very unprofessional they tsk... but seriously... I'm just not good at writing all this out and sometimes it just becomes me venting or talking shit and I do enough of that on stage.

But anyway. What's happening?How's your 2012 going? Oh that's good/bad. Oh my.

Well I toured Melbourne last year. Hip hooray. Very successful according to feedback. I like doing shows more than I like writing in blogs because that way you can actually kinda know who I am. I'm a stage person. I like to move. To imbue meaning through words and action. Written poetry is very hard for me because it leaves out that part of the game that I like: the expression.

So this year, after doing woodford and melbourne, I'm going to go for big things.
No I'm not trying to take over the world pinky. But I would like to reach as many people with as many stories as possible.
The reason I bring them up is because you can watch or read anything by them and it is at once easily accessible and yet thought provoking (OK for Le Guin fans I know that some of her sci fi is incredibly dense and an acquired taste, but that's beside the point).

So I want to play smart, get active, and move crowds. Sounds easy but it's not.

And some poets out there, even some of my friends, love to raise their nose and say that's like selling out, it's like compromising your art, it's like, just not poetry man...

Well I find that point of view not only incredibly boooooooooooring but fuckin ironic. You see, to want to be great, you have to acknowledge certain things within yourself. You have to peer at yourself in the mirror and say "well, what are you going to say that's just SOOOO fuckin special mate? Who's going to want to hear YOU speak?"
And those questions leave you with answers you never thought were there. Nor ever considered before.
But when artists say "I DON'T DO THIS" or "I only do paid gigs" (that's always one for a chuckle) or "that's too easy... ohhh look at how difficult and thought provoking I am." You're placing limitations on yourself and your art. What you're actually saying is "I'm so far up my own arse to give a fuck what an audience thinks, their intelligence, their capability of holding meaning, joy, and all things art related." You're admitting you're an up yourself tosser who would rather be the fuckin elite.
"You didn't GET my poem? oh, poor YOU..."

So that's why I'm going to go to Canberra this week and blow up BAD SLAM! NO BISCUIT! on Wednesday 15th Feb, with my good friend Doubting Thomas.
That's why I'm going to perform in the installation art of Julie-Anne Milinski, the staircases, the elevator and the street corner at Metro Arts this Saturday (18th Feb) night for BEAF.
That's why when JAM JAR Poetry Slam (26th Feb) comes along I'm going to do my best to entertain, provoke and lift my game. Move. Engage the stage. Create great things through words. Because when you do that you're saying "I care about my audience and I want to give you the best. I want to tell you a story I find important. And most of all, I'm going to have a ball doing it. Because I love it and it's fun."

And I'll get paid bugger all, be out of pocket, be hungry and be lost for where to go next. And I will fail. I'll do really lame stuff. And I'll do stuff that I don't think is that good but people will like it.
And I'll love every step on this starving path.
And there might be dragons!
Welcome to 2012.